Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Driver fitness may decide races, says Rosberg

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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In the round-up: Nico Rosberg predicts driver fatigue could play a significant factor in the outcome of races this season.

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Is Lance Stroll deserving of criticism after another off ended a second day’s testing early for Williams? Derek Edwards believes so…

Testing is about running to a predetermined programme, not about driving on the edge. If this were the first qualifying session of the season then I think we could turn a blind eye, but this is about running in components, checking they work, and getting in as many laps as possible so that the team is as prepared as it can be for the season ahead and that you, the rookie, have been in the car for gazillions of laps in the real world rather than the simulator.

The Maldonado comments may be a little jumpy, but so far he does have three times as many offs as he next man. You’ll get through this, Williams, chin up. You’ve been there before.
Derek Edwards

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Will Wood
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60 comments on “Driver fitness may decide races, says Rosberg”

  1. Here’s a Hitler reacts that was posted on YouTube about McLaren. Warning, contains a fair amount of language (beyond German).

    While I’m sure Rosberg is happy to not have the pressures of driving this year, I bet there’s a part of him that wishes he’s behind a wheel during this testing now these new cars are here. I’m sure he will get a chance to drive one at some point.

    I know it’s a very minor thing, but I always feel like drivers shouldn’t change their identifying letters. VES to me is what Verstappen has had since he joined and I would’ve liked to see it remain like that, like their number does. Just like how Michael Schumacher kept MSC when he came back in 2010. What if Vergne returns next year? VEG? People might think they’re testing biofuel!

    1. Ha. He’d prolly pick up JEV, which of course is awesome

    2. Before Ralf joined, Michael was identified by SCH.

      1. True, although that change was of course brought in because there were two people (brothers) with the same surname, and in the interests of not giving one a ‘worse’ abbreviation than the other, if you like, as well as making them more distinct. Here there was less reason to do so. Although I suppose it is nice for Max to continue Jos’ abbreviation

        1. ExcitedAbout17
          2nd March 2017, 7:54

          “remain like that () like their number”
          Come on, that only changed a few years ago.

          1. I know, but the comparison is that it is something that is designated to that particular driver. Under the old number system obviously it was different, but I’m comparing it to the current one because that is what it is now

    3. Funny watch, I’ll bookmark it alongside this one

    4. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      2nd March 2017, 3:51

      It’s the most minor thing ever, barely worthy of an article imho.

    5. it’s about as quick as a Footwork in the hands of Inoue


    6. Here’s a Spanish man explaining the MCL32 debrief –

      1. I suppose the acronym is has a scale to A so i assume in 2034 he will run as VEA

  2. So Dan’s 3 team mates in F1 have been VER, VET, VES and now VER again.. What a narrow window of acronyms

    1. Even the last three letters, which are different, are actually next to each other in the alphabet. :)

      1. And if you read the last three letters backwards, they name the sister car: STR :D

        @sumedh @biggsy

    2. Liuzzi from HRT ruins it though :(

      1. Likewise with Kvyat, but we’ll pretend that’s not true ;)

    3. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      2nd March 2017, 10:11

      “Max Verstappen’s three-letter abbreviation on Formula 1 timing screens will change from ‘VES’ to ‘VER’ for the 2017 season, the Dutchman has confirmed to”

      As an obsessive compulsive panda this is perhaps my favourite news of the offseason. I never understood why historic drivers get to keep their 3 letter tag in favour of the actual contracted drivers of the season.

      Tiago Monteiro’s spell at Jordan left us with Juan Pablo ‘MOY’ for a season or two, that really irked me.

      Schumi’s ‘MSC’ when ‘SCH’ was available was another weird one, which I would guess was in case of a potential Ralf return?

      Maybe now David Coulthard will stop saying ‘Vestappen’ too

  3. For some strange reason I thought Rosberg retired from F1 to spend more time with his family.

    I must have been mistaken!

    1. Going to see the testing is like going on holiday for a week, or a few days.

      He’s not spending every hour of every day at the circuit, training his body, practicing driving in the simulator, developing the car and his body, travelling between races, interacting with the media.

      If I quit my job to persue something else it doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly unable to find time to do something else.

    2. @strontium Don’t worry, that remark was either completely tongue in cheek, or he’s 12.

      1. @robbie The season hasn’t even started and I’m already pressing your buttons!

        It’s going to be a long year…. lol.

        1. Nah Button’s retired too.

          1. I see what you did there, @robbie :) Smooth…

  4. “It’s probably fair to say that over the coming weeks we will have a good look at other peoples cars and decide which bits are interesting” Newey says as if they don’t already have a team of modellers working furiously in reproducing whatever they see to pump through CFD.

    I don’t think Stroll is much to blame after hearing Williams comments. Just because mechanical issues don’t end up with the engine blowing up or stopped neatly on the side of the track doesn’t mean they’re not there. A car stepping out randomly under up-shifts is something nobody wants to deal with. “It’s for us to try to understand how to re-balance the car” says it all.

    I wonder what Hamilton juice will taste like, I’d go with a purple/berry flavour myself.

    1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      2nd March 2017, 12:26

      Holy water flavoured

      1. This lady seems to think its the work of the devil…

  5. Can’t but find Rosberg really annoying – if the cars are so great why didn’t you stay and defend your world championship.

    1. He was asked a question and just giving his honest opinion. He’s given his reasons for retiring, but it doesn’t mean he can’t still like what he sees, and be positive about it.

      1. Interning for a management position perhaps? Anyway he looked like he was feeling great.

    2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      2nd March 2017, 3:54

      +1 cash and grabbed a WDC through luck and then left the team that gifted it to him in the lurch. Zero respect.

      1. I agree. I find Rosberg’s presence at the test extremely irritating.

        1. Agreed. I am not interested in anything Rosberg has to say. I don’t support cowards. The sooner this year is over so he is no longer champion the happier I’ll be. He can fade away and be forgotten as somebody who won once then ran away.

      2. nelson piquet
        2nd March 2017, 8:16

        biased englishman

        1. I’m not an English man and I agree with Victor and the others.

          1. What children.

          2. @Robbie

            I’m a Martian.

        2. Biased Ham fans is more like it.

    3. Isn’t that what a (Brand) team ambassador does? I thought Rosberg had an ongoing role with Mercedes.

      1. Yes but sour grapes and all that!!!1!

  6. “We might even see drivers losing race wins because of just being ‘game over’ physically – and that’s what we need.”

    Is it what we need ?
    I’m not sure I’d want to see someone drive a good race, only to lose near the end because another is stronger.

    And is it that likely ?
    In the 60’s Spa was a 280 mile race with no power steering and a manual gearbox, and some of those drivers thought the healthy option was smoking cigarettes instead of cigars, are today’s generation of super fit drivers really going to struggle so much that they’d lose positions in a race ?
    Surely their personal trainers have had them preparing for the new cars, and the increased forces involved ?

    1. Surely though, this is the human element people want to see in F1. This is the bit where the cars are hard to drive, and the drivers have to push, and will make mistakes. How much fun is it when a race turns on its head towards the end. That’s what excitement is made of, that’s what so many classics are made of, such as Canada 2011. And how better to do this than a driver’s fatigue and error, which is much better than a mechanical failure.

      I remember clearly the 2010 season summary video from FOM (it’s available to see on dailymotion) saying “it takes the blink of an eye for the perfect drive to become undone”.

    2. The 60s cars were not physically hard to drive. Sure they had no power steering but they also did not have downforce nor slicks. Nor did they require as much force on the brake pedal either as modern cars. The later f1 ground effects were the physical ones. No power steering, wide slicks, rock hard suspension that a lot of the times caused blurred vision and manual gearbox which required you to drive considerable amounts one handed as your other hand was on the shifter.

    3. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      2nd March 2017, 3:55

      “Is it what we need ?
      I’m not sure I’d want to see someone drive a good race, only to lose near the end because another is stronger.”

      I would, sounds awesome. Winning a race shouldn’t be decided by which team signed you up and how quick you drove on Saturday, im hoping it is exactly as you just described.

      1. Yeah I lean that way too, but I don’t think NR expects drivers will have some total collapse near the end or something. But if their necks and shoulders are weary at the end of some races that might play in to their ability to concentrate and remain mistake free as the race winds down, especially if they’re being hassled from behind. I don’t think we can claim that they can simply train harder such that the strain won’t be a bother. It’s a 2 hour event. Hockey players have thighs the size of tree trunks, but they are only on the ice for brief shifts at a time because they start feeling the burn.

  7. I doubt physicality of the cars can really catch anyone out these days. All the drivers have personal doctors and physios creating training programs for them. And the drivers are pushing hard to maximise their fitness while being as light as possible. They know pretty well ahead what kind of circumstances they’ll be driving in and they will be well prepared.

    Not to mention that the spanish track is a high downforce track making it one of the more challenging circuits… and we have seen drivers doing way over 100 laps in a single day already. It is nice that the cars are more physical but in the end I think it is more of a comfort issue than it is a real performance drop when the drivers need to push through a long gp. At most I’d expect minor issues in the hotter races. Like singapore.

    1. I always feel a little affected at the end of the evening of the Singapore GP but I don’t think the drivers get served whiskey.

  8. Williams may not run today? Neat way of not displaying their wet weather weakness 😝

    1. I can’t imagine the havoc both Massa and Stroll would cause in the wet. It’s a shame we aren’t going to witness it. I think it’s their way of not upsetting all the teams with constant red flags.

  9. “You’ll get through this, Williams, chin up. You’ve been there before.”

    Mean, very fair but mean! :D

  10. Easy for people to say Mclaren should ditch Honda. First of all, we don’t know how both Honda and Mclaren are contractually bound. Considering the amount of money Honda would have sunk into this project, you’d expect some pretty iron clad terms.

    Which brings me to the second point. If the relationship ends now, Mclaren would be at a significant financial disadvantage. They’d have to pay for engines and Fernando Alonso’s salary which would cost them upwards of 50 million a year in total. They’d have to downsize their operation and turn into Williams.

    Essentially, Mclaren’s best chance of winning, as stupid as it sounds, is to stay with Honda and keep fighting the good fight.

    1. Or ditch Alonso, ditch Honda and start afresh..

    2. Some positive comment, I like that!

  11. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    2nd March 2017, 7:36

    First onboard of the season: CHECK. OUT. THE. GRIP….

    It may be soft tyres but I don’t even think it’s a proper qualifying sim, Hamilton has got too much mid-corner understeer, and the W08 is fidgeting on exit suggesting some fuel weight. But said I have never seen such an incredible ability to carry entry speed in a car, both on the brakes and on turn-in. Onboards this year are going to be good…

    1. Trackside commentators have noted that the Mercedes does seem to have some inherent understeer. Bet the Ferrari looks even more incredible on board (at the moment)

      1. The car was heavily fuelled. James Allen’s article yesterday mentioned Mercedes normally run with 70-80kg of fuel compared to Ferrari who varies their load.

        Oh, and Gary Anderson is the same person who during the 2013 pre season test, said the McLaren looks the best car he has seen & they’d win both championships.

        1. McLaren did lead the championship after the first race that year though.

          1. Actually no they didn’t (they did in 2014 – nevermind)

  12. Neil (@neilosjames)
    2nd March 2017, 7:52

    Obviously nowhere near the same level, but me and some mates went karting recently, and some of us (most of us) have awful fitness levels. After 40-50 minutes it was really obvious who was tired and who wasn’t, both on the track and in the lap times later.

    I’d love to see that kind of thing happen in F1. It’s not about ‘talent’, but anything that’s down to the driver, not the machine, is good in my books.

    1. @victor isn’t that what a (Brand) team ambassador does? I thought Rosberg had an ongoing role with Mercedes.

  13. This may very well be the best season we’ve ever had, or the worst. All our prayers have been answered; from Bernie leaving to wider and faster cars to an orange McLaren to better liveries to slightly louder engines and even the return of Maldonado (sorrynotsorry)…the list could go on and on.
    Now, if only the teams get nicely bunched up together and give us a cracking season.

    Or it could all go to hell and Mercedes steamroll their way past. But hey! F1 is back and we’ll never stop loving it.

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